Neuraxis - The Thin Line Between review


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Band: Neuraxis
Album: The Thin Line Between
Release date: July 2008

01. Darkness Prevails
02. Wicked
03. Versus
04. Deviation Occurs
05. The Thin Line Between
06. Dreaming The End
07. Standing Despite...
08. Oracle
09. Phoenix
10. The All And The Nothing

I frickin' love Neuraxis. Or rather, I've tried to for a lot of years. I really, really like the riffs and grooves Steven Henry (or rather Robin Milley) & Co. have put together over their career, and from the moment I first heard them I wanted them to succeed so bad. Their best moments are some I draw inspiration from to this day, something I can't say about most of the music in general out there. Now we're six years past their last output, and they seem like a band fallen apart. With the sudden realization that they will probably never make the groundbreaking record they could have, I decided to lay down the simple facts of why they couldn't make it - and what better way to demonstrate it than through what I believe is their best record?

The best "upgrades" I think mostly came with bettering their production and slow but sure improvements in the songwriting department. Also, the many changes of members often caused much-desired changes in their sound. By Asylon, there were no original members left in Neuraxis. Their earliest output, Imagery, already features much of what is to come later, albeit with a rather low-quality production, irritating vocals, and very inconsistent, sometimes rather unfinished compositions, often bordering on grind. This latter feature got more and more diminished with each record, often to the account of intertwining more melodies with the pumping double-kick bass rhythms. One of the prime examples of this process is the song "Clarity" from Trilateral Progression. By that record their style had become pretty much defined, and with next record they completely shed the surplus elements.

Trilateral was a huge step in the right direction with the production values as well, and while it delivered an earth-shattering experience, for me it was The Thin Line Between that hit the sweet spot. It's a very balanced record, for me their only album listenable back-to-back in one sitting. I like Alex Leblanc's growling the most out of all the singers they had, and the guitars are just as piercing as they need to be to convey their aggression. The rhythm department is pretty much stellar all the way; even though the bass is very much placed in the lower end of the sonic spectrum, this is part of their signature sound.

They kept their formula, but at the same time very much built pretty much all the songs on grooves, so much so they often underutilize and/or lack those powerful moments that are reminiscent of all their other outputs. I know it sounds like they left their spectacular rawness, their devastating quality, behind, and luckily it's not the case. They were just carefully molded into the flow, which is why I regard this as their best. It's a not-completely-unique yet distinct mixture, one that could be very enjoyable. For me, they leapt into new emotional heights here; the closer, "The All And The Nothing," is my favorite of all their songs. For the first (and unfortunately the last) time, they showed great consistency in writing. Knowing this was their last studio performance with the only remaining founding member, Yan Thiel, makes me a bit sad. That was probably a sign of things to come.

I would conclude that the main and probably the only reason why they could not make it is that they could not finish their quest of "finding the right mixture" in time. By Asylon it seems as if they have fallen over themselves, racking up a handful of great riff-packages but often not providing them enough context or the right buildups to make them powerful enough. For me it became a mixed bag of everything they've done till then, and it just couldn't punch through hard enough.

In time before, possibly burning out and getting fed up needing to find new members after every record to fit the mold. They were so close, though.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 9

Written by qlacs | 13.03.2018


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

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